Lega Serie A, the governing body of the top division of Italian club football, has sealed a deal to take its Supercoppa Italiana competition to Saudi Arabia in three of the next five years.
First reported by the Italian press earlier this week, the Lega has brokered the deal with the General Sports Authority (GSA), the government agency responsible for sport in Saudi Arabia. The Supercoppa is the annual match between the reigning champion of Serie A and the winner of the Coppa Italia knockout competition.
The first match under the agreement will be the forthcoming season’s meeting between Serie A champions Juventus and AC Milan, who the Turin club defeated in the final of the 2017-18 Coppa Italia. The game will be played in Saudi Arabia on a date between January 12-16.
Next year’s game will mark the 10th time that the Supercoppa has been staged outside Italy. The Qatari capital of Doha played host in 2016 and 2014, while the Chinese cities of Beijing (2009, 2011 and 2012) and Shanghai (2015) also staged recent editions.
New York and Washington D.C. staged the match in 2003 and 1993, respectively, while the 2002 game was played in Tripoli, Libya. The agreement furthers Saudi Arabia’s increasing interest in the overseas sports market as it seeks to diversify its interests away from the oil sector.
Lega Serie A chief executive Marco Brunelli said: “The confirmation of an important market like Saudi Arabia to host this match testifies the appeal that Italian football exerts all over the world. The promotion of our brand goes through these agreements, necessary to favour the arrival of new investors in our championship.”